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2008 - The Highlights

As promised, I rounded up my best of 2008 as a kind of Happy Things rehash. They’re in no particular order.

Despite the fact that the Mets won the Choke Artist of the Year award for the second consecutive year, the Red Sox lost in the post-season, and the Jets imploded on themselves after starting out the season eight and three, 2008 was a really enjoyable sporting year in Merland. The baseball season was super enjoyable until the end; the Jets got Brett Farve (which was, for the most part, a complete and utter joy to behold); I finally witnessed the fall of Roger Federer who had been ruining men's tennis for me for the better part of five years – a fall from glory that was so profound, I ended the tennis year feeling sorry for the man who I’ve hated almost as much as I hate Roger Clemens; Novak Djokovic became a Champion; Michael Phelps made history eight times over; men's and women's gymnastics brought home Olympic medals of every color; the Celtics won the NBA Championship, something to smile about, regardless of the fact that I rarely watch basketball, simply because I spent so many years worshiping Larry Bird; and I hit a 50 foot putt with a two foot break while a group of men stood behind me and watched, swearing to God that there was no way the ball was going in. Not a bad run, I think.

And then there was professional golf. Holy jumping Christmas trees, was there ever professional golf. Unless you live in some kind of sports void, you know that Tiger Woods didn’t play this year after winning the US Open in one of the most dramatic and memorable finishes under some of the most dramatic and memorable conditions in the history of golf. I’m not a huge Tiger cheerleader. I don’t dislike him. I’m just not a huge fan…but even I was moved to tears at his win. Maybe it was because I have substantial knee injuries myself so I know the kind of pain he was in. I don’t know. It was something else though. But that’s beside the point. To hell with Tiger. If, like me, you’re a Sergio Garcia fan, what a friggin' year this has been! Okay,well, he didn’t win a major and his performance at the Ryder Cup was very un-Sergio-ish but he had, I think, the best year of his career. He won a few times, including the Players, the unofficial “fifth major”. He came in second a few times, losing in playoffs but still delivering some fantastic golf. He even hosted his very own tournament for the first time in his hometown of Castellon, Spain, which he also won by the way. Most importantly though, with Tiger gone, he got some damn airtime! He was actually on TV for more than, like, the usual three minutes combined total. He was actually in what TV golf coverage refers to as “the featured grouping" several times. I’m telling you, for Sergio fans, this year was fucking fantastic…even the times when he lost. He was a joy to watch this year, something that hasn’t really been the case for him for a few years running. He was mature, and composed, and poised, and he wore green and white a way lot. (Ha!) Sergio fans have been waiting ten years for Sergio to be the Sergio he was in 2008…and we all know that it’s only going to get better. And that’s just Sergio. If you’re also an Ian Poulter fan, this was a fantastic year as well. Ian came in first runner up at the British Open, his career’s best result in a Major. The ridiculousness of his hair style and fashion choices were in full flourish, much to the joy of his fans. Best of all, though, was his performance at the Ryder Cup. When he was selected for the European team, there was a lot of fallout. Angry voices all over the golf world ranted and raved and carried on, griping that he didn’t deserve the spot, especially over veterans like Darren Clarke and Montie. Ian took it all in stride and showed up at the Ryder Cup totally on his game. Europe may have lost overall but Ian successfully shut up every single critic that so much as entertained the thought that he didn’t belong on that team. He played the best golf of his life. He was beyond fantastic. BEYOND. It was the joy of my Ryder Cup viewing experience. Overall, I had more fun watching golf this year than any other year that I’ve watched golf, which is a lot of years. It was the kind of year where I got to dance with glee around my living room more than once. It was a total ball.

So, enough about sports. Despite what my Ten Happy Things lists may indicate, I do find joy outside of the sporting world. Take Twilight for example. Okay, I’ll openly admit that Twilight is kind of a lame thing to have as a highlight. I don’t really care. With Harry Potter over, I was kind of going through withdrawals and Twilight, after I finally got on the damn band wagon,became the best methodol of all time. It’s yet another thing to add to the list of Meredith Obsessions. I got completely and utterly sucked in, no pun intended. I love to read…and I do so on an almost consistent basis. But I haven’t had such fun reading a series since I started Harry Potter years and years ago. I loved it so much that my Contact Table on my MySpace page has the movie versions of Edward and Bella on it, dethroning my Mets/Red Sox Combing Forces Against the Evil Empire contact table. Taking any kind of precedent over my overwhelming hatred for the Yankees is really a kind of accomplishment. :-)

2008 set new standards in regards to the ‘pregnancy parade.’ I always refer to the summer months as the pregnancy parade. So many women get pregnant during the winter, especially over the span of time between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, that the summer months are just filled with prego chicks all over the damn place. This year, however, the women in my sphere outdid themselves as far as bringing forth life is concerned. At one point, I made a list of every person I know who either got pregnant or gave birth in 2008. By the time the year came to an end, that list stood at 30 people, including my sister who is currently pregnant with her first child after several grueling years of fertility therapy. 30 PEOPLE! That’s just insane. The part about the whole thing that gives me joy, though, is the hope it communicates. Watch the news sometime, especially some kind of ultra-serious news like CNN. It seems like there is no happiness in the world…and if there is, it’s certainly overshadowed by the horror that you see on the news every day. You rarely hear a person say they think the world is in a good place. Yet, so many people still choose to bring life into the world. That brings me comfort. No matter how horrible it may be, it’s not so bad that the people I know have lost so much hope and faith that they won’t bring new life to the planet. That one simple fact is very reassuring from time to time.

My life had an addition this year too. Not a baby…a doggie. Topher the Beagle Giver graced me with Sammy. Topher had to move and couldn’t take Sammy to his new place so I helped a buddy out by agreeing to play foster mom to his dog. It turned out to be one of the best favors I ever did a person. I still maintain that Sammy is Topher’s dog that lives at my house even though Topher counters with “he’s Meredith’s dog.” Regardless of whose dog he is, Sammy is really one of the top joys of my life. I cannot tell you the happiness I get from this animal. I have three other pets as well: two excellent cats that I adopted from a friend’s moron of a sister seven years ago who believed the cats would smother her new baby, and Riley the Stupid Dog who I got from the Animal Welfare League when he was a little puppy. All these animals love me but not a one of them loves me like Sammy. I’ve never had a pet so attached to me the way this crazy little beagle is. And the feeling is entirely reciprocal…I am attached to him beyond words. I take him all over the place with me. He’s in the car with me so much that when I actually go out to the garage and don’t tell him “come on, let’s go”, he looks at me like “wait…I’m not going too?” Then he does the 'sad bark', which is easily one of the most pathetic sounds known to mankind. I sit with him on the floor and watch TV. I dress him up and take pictures, for no other reason than he totally lets me do it. He’s so good. He’s the best behaved dog I’ve ever had, which is a true compliment to Topher who trained him for over nine years before I got him. And he’s so funny. Oh my God, is he funny. He makes me laugh all the time. He’s just a lunatic of a little dog. He’s the sunshine of my life some days. I’m so blessed to have him. I hold to the idea that Topher can have him back whenever he’s able because it really is his dog…but in all honesty, I think he’d have to fight me for him. ;-)

Last but not least, and you can laugh at me all you want, the best time of my whole year was had at the two New Kids on the Block reunion concerts I attended this year. Yes, I know that’s stupid. I know it’s cheesy. I could give a rat’s ass. I had the MOST FUN at these shows. I relived my youth. I’m in my thirties…it’s not every day that I get to feel 14 again. I don’t feel old but I certainly feel my age. Not saying that I’d want to go back to being 14 but it certainly is something to feel that young again for a few hours. It was just pure, unadulterated fun. It was fun to experience and fun to share with my girlfriends and fun to watch them experience. The best was Yvonne. She was in the group of girls that went to the second show. Yvonne’s pregnant so her reactions were adorably overblown. She cried like we all did when we were at the concerts 20 years ago. She was just so overwhelmed with all of it, like only a pregnant chick can be, that she cried. She cried with glee at choreography. It was, like, the cutest thing ever. I had the flu at the second concert and it was still a better time than almost everything else I had going on in 2008. It was just so nice to be able to get that silly and ridiculous and worked up and excited over something so retarded and have it be okay. It wasn’t just me and my friends. It was entire arenas full of women my age all over the country having the time of their lives being 14 again, screaming their fool heads off at some silly boy band from the 80s. Grown women screaming like we’d never seen a man before. God, it was fun.

In closing, I’m really glad that I’ve kept up with the whole Ten Happy Things shebang for this long. I think it makes me appreciate my life more. It helps me to find perspective. I know it’s just a blog…but it really helps me find the right kind of focus sometimes. And it obviously tickles a few others here and there because a good lot of you go batshit bonkers if I don’t get the listup in a timely manner at the end of every month. Thank you all for bearing with me through these. I truly do appreciate that you share in these little things with me. My best to you…and many blessings for 2009. :-)

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